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NOW With Alex Wagner

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Michigan 24, Wisconsin 15, John Mccain 6, Boehner 6, Washington 6, Jim 4, Snyder 4, John Boehner 4, Citi 4, America 4, Us 4, Unitedhealthcare 3, John Kerry 3, Rick Snyder 3, Harry Reid 2, Marco Rubio 2, Tamiflu 2, Susan Rice 2, Campbell 2, Andrea Mitchell 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    December 11, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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president and speaker boehner agreed that loose lips sink ships until today. it is tuesday, december 11th, and this is "now." joining us today political
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analyst and washington bureau chief for more jones david korn and communications director and an msnbc political analyst karen finish where i politico executive editor jim van dehigh, and chief national correspondent for the morning times magazine mark rubavich. over at the white house president obama has no public events scheduled. meanwhile, over in michigan thousands of union members and supporters are protesting at the state capitol building in lancing. the state, which is the heart of the united autoworkers and ground zero for union rights is poised to sign a major anti-labor bill into law today. the president weighed in on that, speaking yesterday in redford. >> these right to work clause, they don't have anything with economics. they have everything to do with politics. what they're really talking about is giving you the right to
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work for less money. america is not going to compete based on low skill, low wage, no workers rights. that's not our competitive advantage. there's always going to be some other country that can treat its workers even worse. >> the house speaker, john boehner, is speaking now on the house floor regarding the fiscal cliff. let's take a listen. >> beyond 1:50 p.m. today. >> the speaker of the house for five minutes. >> the speaker, last week republicans made a serious offer to avert the fiscal cliff, and most of it was based on testimony given last year by president clinton's former chief
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of staff erskine bolles. as he said on sunday, we have to cut spending. well, he is right. washington has a spending problem. let's be honest, we're broke, and the plan that we've offered is consistent with the president's call for a balanced approach. a lot of people know that the president and i met on sunday. it was a nice meeting. cordal. we're still waiting for the white house to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the balanced approach that he promised the american people. you know, where are the president's spending cuts? the longer the white house slow walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff. here's what we do know. we know that the president wants more stimulus spending and an increase in the debt limit without any cuts or reforms.
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that's not physicianing our problem. frankly, it's making it worse. on top of that, the president wants to raise tax rates on many small business owners. now, even if we did exactly what the president wants, we would see red ink for as far as the eye can see. that's not fixing our problem either. it's making it worse, and it's hurting our economy. i think the members know i'm an optimist. i'm hopeful we can reach an agreement. this is a serious issue and there's a lot at stake. the american people sent us here to work together towards the best possible solution, and that means cutting spending. now, if the president doesn't agree with our approach, he has an obligation to put forward a plan that can pass both chambers of the congress because right now the american people have to be scratching their heads and wondering when is the president going to get serious?
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eye yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. altmeyer for five minutes. >> that was speaker of the house john boehner making remarks on the status of the fiscal cliff negotiations. jim, not giving us a ton to chew on there other than talking about a sea of red i think as far as the eye can see and the lack of seriousness. >> sharp ability to cut to the real matter. i think people are scratching their head at why we just had to watch that. >> you never know. there has been silence, right? there has been silence for the last two days, so perhaps, as david corn suggested to me earlier in makeup, this is boehner's bid to get some air time. >> yes. >> i think the story is pretty simple. the republicans are going to keep saying that every single day, and the president is going to keep saying raise taxes every single day until behind the scenes the two of them get a deal. i am still an optimist that they will get a deal. i think it's manifestly in both of their self interests. i don't think the president's hand is as strong as he thinks it is, and i think boehner has
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much more incentive than he leads on to figure out a way to get a deal to avert this. neither of these men want to go in to next year with a bad economy. that's exactly what they know is at risk if they don't get a deal. >> does any of this help? the president has been on what i like to call the great reasonableness tour, mark, of 2012, which is getting out of the white house, talking to middle class families, et cetera, et cetera. the republicans have not had the same pr blitz. they obviously don't have the power of the bully pulpit, but this seems to be an effort to say, hey, we're not being unreasonable either. >> right. i mean, you can say this is a great reasonableness or if you are someone else, you could say it's a great political tour. i mean, look, whatever the approach was last time didn't seem to work for either party. campaigning is obviously a posture he is comfortable in. it's something that, you know, ronald reagan has done. any number of presidents have done this in the past, and it's breaking the template. look, i mean, it's like jim said. there's a big battle for air time going on right now, and this is just another way of
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communicating. >> part of what's curious that boehner would have started with talking about erskine bowls. last week he said he already denounced what they were trying to say he said during the assessment. by this afternoon maybe within a k. hours we'll have more b roll of erskine saying that's not what i said. >> they have to be printing "i heart erskine bowls." >> he has said that's not actually what i meant or said. also, though, again, look at the polls. these guys continue to make their argument. they continue to lose in the polls. more and more people agree with the president, so whatever argument john boehner thinks that he is making, people are -- i mean, if anybody is scratching their heads, they're not buying it. >> it's interesting. he didn't talk about tax cuts at all in this. he is trying to change the terms to spending cuts because he thinks republicans play better in that territory than the president does, and they've kind of seemed to yield the issue of tax cuts for the rich or trying to protect them. i think this is really him talking to the tea party caucus
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because i'm less optimistic, as jim here, because i think ultimately boehner still isn't able to make the deal that has to be made here. if he tries to go ahead and -- even if he agreed to the erskine bowls plan, which he can't, i thil stil think half his caucus would rise up in rebellion, and he is doing the speakership vote on january 3rd. until you see some more movement on his whole side of the aisle, i'm not sure how they're going to get to there from here because right now his position is i want to lower tax rates and do this thing with deductions without giving any specifics in that. that's really not a starter for serious debates. even with erskine. >> here's what i'll say is different from three months ago. speaker boehner is in a much more powerful position than he was three months allege. >> within his caucus. >> within his caucus. there was much more tension with eric cantor, his number two, and i think there was much more suspicion of him from the tea party caucus. i hi if he gets a deal that
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includes some spending cuts, obviously a lot of those have to be directed towards mandatory programs, he will get the votes. he will get a majority of his conference. he could not have done that with the deal that they talked about last time around when he and the president were so close to a deal. he was a weaker man politically at that point. also helps that he has folks like haley barbour, tom corker, susan collins, olympia snow. they're obviously moderates, but they're saying we have to raise the rates, and that other thing, reality, which is the rates are going to go up regardless of whether you really want them to or not. i mean, in terms of -- david mentioned the speakership question. to what degree do you guys have a sense that there is any sort of currency to this threat from the aircraft ericksons of the world to oust him from the. >> i think it's noise. it's worth paying attention to. >> it's not that there will be another speaker who will run against him, cantor or anyone else, but if 20 tea party members of the house decide to vote present on january 3rd, he
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will not become speaker. he can be delayed. he can be embarrassed. a lot of things can happen without someone having to challenge him. you can vote for anyone for speaker. you can vote for dafy duck. >> david corn. >> alex wagner, mark, jim, or anyone. or present. he still has to have his caucus behind him to be fully behind him to become speaker. >> the dance continues, my friends. we have to take a break, but we are just getting some breaking news in now. the ap is reporting that michigan's house has ok'd the state's contentious right to work bill. we will have more on that next on "now." music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from.
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moments ago the michigan house approved a right to work bill. the state senate passed last week arks coringed to the associated press. republican governor rick snyder is expected to sign that bill into law. too would make michigan the 24th state to approve a right to work law, which exempts employees in a union workplace from joining or paying dues to that union. meanwhile, pro-union protesters are swarming the michigan capital building in lansing in scenes reminiscent of the battles over union rights in wisconsin and in ohio last year. david corn, we -- the president has sort of -- was in michigan yesterday, and bundled this into a bigger message about the middle class, working americans. is this a good time for republicans to be on the side -- well, against workers rights in the context of this broader conversation we're having? >> you know, we shall see here because they clearly have the votes and snyder says he is going to do this. you see the response. you saw the response in wisconsin. their walker survived the fight.
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i assume this will be as big, if not bigger, and the uaw, of course, the unions are even stronger in michigan than they are in wisconsin, so, you know, this will be a six-month, year-long process. i don't know what the recall was in michigan compared to wisconsin, but i expect this is the beginning of a long fight, and we'll see who comes out in the end, but it's bad news for the unions to have to be on defense this way when they're already having so many other challenges. >> we should bring up the dynamics in michigan that are different. snyder had said all along he was not going to do this, and then to do -- you know, and whereas in wisconsin people thought, well, maybe recalling. they were more sort of divided about whether or not the recall was the right answer to what had happened. i think that's going to be a much easier message to push in michigan, and then you have two things. labor is fully ready to be there as long as they need to be there. they've got their same apparatus and ground game that they had from the elections still in place, so i don't think they're going anywhere, and they'll be looking at measures or ways that
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they can bring a citizens sort of protest to this and see if they can find a way to repeal it. >> getting past the unions, which was key in wisconsin, they lost in wisconsin wishes but when you get your neighbors out, you get the people who like the nurses and teachers that aren't in the unions, people, you know, family members. a lot of family members are a part of the union household. that's the key to these fights. expanding it beyond the core. >> and exempting maybe mraem and firefighters. that was the problem in ohio that it went too far. if they don't do that in wisconsin -- if they don't do that in michigan, it could, i guess, save the effort or save the right to work. >> i think it still plays into what president obama was talking about yesterday. on the heels of the election, this issue of economic disparity, this issue of workers versus -- you know, 2% versus 98%. i mean, this puts the republicans, again, in the position of standing on the side of, you know, big corporatings, not on the side of the 98% of the workers. that's where the president is trying to go with that messaging. >> it does and doesn't.
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i would argue the president's effort to bundle this, to use your word, that is not proven. no one has really married successfully the issue of a labor issue, say, in wisconsin or now michigan with the larger the middle class conversation. as a political issue, this is very different, i think, from a purely labor issue because labor is no longer -- labor used to be the democratic party's core. right now there is some disconnect between the labor movement and the sort of broader democratic constitch wednesdayys, you know, and many of which should have defined the last election. if you think of hispanics and women, these sht -- i mean, obviously there is traditional elements, but, i mean, scott walker's victory in wisconsin was seen as somewhat catastrophic last year for democrats, which, of course, it really wasn't. if you sort of look at how the president faired in the state, and if you sort of look at the broader politics there. >> if you are complicating things for democrats in the unions is that this is now a varant of this that has played out in four states. you had a piece of this in
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indiana. we've had it in ohio and wisconsin and had it in michigan. all four places we've had protests. all four places the unions lost, and they were not able to pick up much in the aftermath of it and in all of three places that have had is to far, i understand, ohio, and wisconsin, the unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and you are going to have republicans and business groups making the case that there is job creation, take a place in those states. i don't think the two are necessarily -- but that's been the argument particularly in michigan. >> let me ask you, jim. snyder said initially it would be too divisive. he is now having to walk that back. i mean, undermining the argument this is, you know, going to steady the michigan economy where the unemployment rate is 9 parking lot 1% higher than in surrounding states. >> he did this in a 24-48 hour period in wisconsin. it was a more protracted. who knows if we had that kind of time frame in michigan where we would be right now. there are a number of studies. epi just put one out yesterday and i think democrats are getting -- and labor is getting
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better at talking about the economic consequences in terms of workers rights, in terms of what it does to wages, what that means in terms of real dollars that people take home. real benefits to their family in a way that i think makes that connection to the economic argument for the middle class in a way that i think we hadn't been doing as effectively in the last -- >> if you look at american attitudes towards the idea of organized labor, the sort of support for it has declined rapidly and a long generational lines. at the end of the day if you track the sort of income disparity in this country and stagnating middle class wages, it's almost in parallel to the declining power of unions. that's a case that i think -- >> and right to work states, you know, in order to comparison have lowered per capita income than non right to work states. a question -- this is a challenge for republicans and nor snyder. can they make the argument, this is going to help the economy in michigan or ohio, indiana, wherever they're trying to do this, and the studies really don't give you the evidence to make that case. it's very hard to sort of sort this stuff out, and so the unions then have to talk about
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fairness and other issues that the president has tried to make part gumdz u bundled into everything he is talking about. i think this is going to be another strong clash. it was -- they lost to wisconsin, but it was a close bite, and we didn't know which side was going to win for a while, and i think we're going to see a major front ear, which is -- which either side can win. >> the other thing to keep in mind is the reason this is happening now is because republicans will still have jord come 2013 in the statehouse in michigan, but it's not going to be as big. that is a really crass, nakedly political move? >> it's a lame-duck move. >> it is a lame-duck move. when we talk about the bigger framing of this issue, you know, just what has happened to the middle class in this country, and we talk about business coming into these states and this may be a good thing to have the right to work. at the end of the day more businesses have come in to these states, but does it benefit actual workers. you look at what has happened. the impact of the recession. i feel like we cannot talk about these enough. the median wealth of the american family fell 38% from
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2007 to 2010, which wiped out two decades of wealth in america. then if you talk about who is benefitting here, the middle 60% of the country saw the biggest losses while the top 10% saw their net worth increase. something has to be done to address this disparity. >> all the great things about protecting those job createors, they have done very well in the last several years. i mean, you see this over and over again. record profits. you see bonuses going up. you see salaries going up on the top 2%. wall street doing well while the middle class, and then the disparity. part of the concern of the administration has had and the president has talked about this, we cannot continue to do -- to have these policies that actually grow that disparity. it's bad enough as it is, but what are we going to look like in 10, 20 years if we continue on a path where the disparlt gets greater? >> right. no one is talking about this in terms of the labor issue. i mean, in the campaign, it was a taxation issue, right? i mean, that's what resonated for the president, and that's how people talk about it, and that actually got some traction for the democrats. again, i mean, as i said before,
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i mean, whether people think that the key to sort of narrowing this gap is to strengthen labor unions, i think, is in open question and actually sort of trending the other direction. >> i think labor can make that argument. >> yes, the kwfsh side. >> the conservative side has exceeded in the last 30 years in demonizing unions. they've gone after it because the unions are more supportive of democrats and a lot of this is about politics and undermining a force that is working against them. they've done a better job than the unions have on that front. i felt wisconsin showed the potential to sort of shift that around a little bit, and now we'll see in michigan whether unions, which make up, what, 7%, 8% of the work force now, still have the ability to sell themselves as essential parts of our economy and of our society. >> that was kind of part of the lesson i was hoping labor would take out of the wisconsin example, which is they need to kind of rebrand themselves and recast their message, both in terms of an economic message to what we're talking about, but
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also it has this feeling, and i'm going to get myself in trouble with some of the labor leaders in this town, but, you know, you need younger faces, workers, you know, sort of the real people, people from wisconsin wishgs people from michigan, not kind of the same old, same old faces that you see in washington, you know, as part of the sort of d.c. crowd, and i think there's an opportunity to do that. hopefully going forward that's what they'll do here in michigan. >> i will leave us all with one stat. in 2010 if you look at income gains, the bottom 99% of this country made an income gain of $80. the top 1% made a gain of a $105,000. that's somewhat of a difference. certainly a conversation to continue. coming up, it may be more of a symptom than a cause, but the filibuster epit mizs the ytd of congressional gridlock. is there any real hope for reform? we will hold the floor just ahead.
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zeerchlgs just the threat of a filibuster can send senators skurrying for the magic number 30. an ab surtdty the daily show passed on last night. >> there is no extra controversy rule that turns it into 60. parliament aaron is not going to be forced transvaginal ultrasound. we're going to need 75 on that one. that's crazy. that's controversy. i mean, anything that the ladies from "the view" can make a meal of, we have to have 80. i'm sorry. oh, free nacho tuesday. let's just have three people. >> now the push for filibuster reform is going to the courts. we will ask democratic senator murphy about it next live on "now." hi victor! mom?
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the senate filibuster has become so over used that a lawsuit before a federal judge is claiming that it is unconstitutional. according to the senate from 1917 to 1992 there were just five filibusters. from 2007 until today there have been 388. it's absurdly frequent use has contributed to unprecedented gridlock in the senate, and now senate majority leader harry reid wants to make the filibuster a, shall we say, less attractive option. s one idea is to end the silent filibuster and bring back the old talky one, which requires filibustering senators to actually speak from the floor of the senate, sometimes for an entire day or longer. >> i'm going to walk off the floor in five minutes or maybe i could stay another hour or another two hours, but if i haven't been able too reach you after 14 or 15 or whatever it is
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hours and if i haven't been able to instill in you and senator moynihan some sense of, my gosh, all we want to do is to have the laws applied, and if you don't give a darn about that, then don't come down here, but don't whine and moan with factories and jobs leaving this place. >> al demato, former new york senator spoke for 15 hours and 14 minutes making it the second longest filibuster speech in history. d'amato also clocked in at 23 hours and 30 minutes, the second longest filibuster. the record for the longest goes to south carolina's strom thurmond who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes. like everything in the senate, the push to end gridlock is turning into a fight itself with democrats and republicans battling over the right way to do it and whether to do it at
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all. joining me now democratic senator from oregon, jeff murphy. senator, great to have you on the program. >> thank you, alex. it's great to be with you. >> so we just played some vintage al d'amato footage of one of his many filibusters. when we talk about filibuster reform, one of the things that is suggested in terms of reform is bringing back the talking filibuster, but i guess i ask you as someone who is leading the charge on this, is that going to actually help things in the senate, or does this give senators more opportunities to grandstand in front of cameras? >> listen, they can grandstand all they want right now, so that's already a privilege they have. unfortunately, what the minority has decided to do is to utilize the filibuster, which actually is just an objection to going to a final vote, so it's a quiet objection. it's not on the floor. no speeches are required. never have been required. it used to be people wanted to take responsibility for their obstruction because they understood that a majority -- a simple majority vote is a key
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part of the constitutional design for the senate. if are you going to stabbed in the way, you are going to make your case before the colleagues and the american people. that whole ethic -- that whole social contract is gone, and so you have this silent filibuster, as you mentioned, almost 400 times. it's been used in the last six years. each one of those objections takes a week of the senate's time, and so since they're already 400 weeks in six years, you can start to see how this is completely paralyzed the senate from doing the business that it needs to be doing on appropriation bills, on authorizing bills and bills that address the big issues facing america. >> jim, to bring our panel in here, the brennan senate for justice has interesting stats out. the current senate passed a 2.8% of bills introduced to the chamber, which is a 90% decrease from the high of 1955 to 1956. certainly the filibuster isn't helping move things along, but i always go back to this excellent article that george packer wrote
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in "the new yorker" in 2010 which talks about how everything is broken sort of beyond just parliamentary procedure. he wrote "encome bered with aides prod bid hourly jolts from electronic media, racing from the hearing room to the caucus, talking to politico on the record -- i'm just kidding -- lunch in the airports. senators no longer have the time or perhaps the inclination to get to know one another, at least of all members of the other party. friendships are more likely among the few spouses that live in washington. generally speaking, people don't spend a lot of time actually legislating on the hill. >> not a terrible amount. some people like that. they would rather have washington not legislating. unlike you slackers, i went and watched last night every single filibuster, the ten longest in totally. i just wrapped up yesterday just to see what was like. >> you were filibustering your own time. >> it is part of a much broader problem, as packard points out in that 2010 speech. filibusters have made it much more toxic in the senate. i think a lot more house members
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go into the senate and it has made it more toxic, and there's a feeling in the senate, much like -- i covered the house for years and years, and one of the things you would see is when you would switch majorities, whatever the other party did to you, you wanted to do it to them worse. it's like, well, you did it to me, nancy. i'm going to do it to you. well, it just keeps passing on, and nobody wants to stop the spiral because if republicans do it now and when they're in the minority, it hurts them. they're going to love this when they're in the majority. >> interesting thing too. you combine packard's piece with what's happening now, the filibuster was really there as a role to be used once in a while, and there was an understanding and consensus of both parties that it would not be used, you know, overly, but, yet, when they break down this communal nature of the senate breaks down, and we didn't really like the back room elbow rubbing all the time, but when that totally is gone, then people are just in it for themselves, and their own causes and whatever they're fighting for, and there is no -- there's an overarching agreement here not to do this, which i
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will abide by. no, if the rules let me do this, i will abuse them. that's what's happened. >> senator, i got to ask you, you know, the option that senator reid may use to pass filibuster reform is referred to as the nuclear option, which doesn't exactly smack of bipartisanship, and even 134 senate democrats, like carl evan and chuck schumer, have said this is not necessarily the right way to go about it. is there any concern that if this is passed through the nuclear option, that that increases partisan gridlock on the hill? >> well, we would all prefer to have a super majority adopt rules, but what we know historically is that the rules are only changed when you first know that 51 are prepared and ready under the constitution to adopt new rules. that then drives negotiations, so unless we're prepared to say we've had enough of failing our responsibilities as american people, failing to address the big issues facing america, failing to address appropriation bills, and that, therefore, 51 are committed to changing the rules, we probably will end up
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with nothing happening, and that is unacceptable. >> we do -- the reason i want to stress this talking filibuster is that we can do other things, and there are some use such as eliminating the filibuster on the motion to proceed bill, because it makes no sense to if it's an instrument to facilitate debate, using it to prevent debate or using it to prevent getting to a conference committee, but in the end those things won't change the dynamic. right now the problem is that the filibuster when used to paralyze the senate is done quietly, it's done through a simple objection. it's not visible to the public. it takes no time and energy by the filibustering senators, and the public cannot see it and weigh in and say it's unacceptable you are paralyzing the senate, so we will change how we vote in the next election or weigh in on the issue and urge their senator to say enough of that. join the vote and let's get on with the disclose act. let's get on with the president's jobs bill and so forth. >> in terms of getting on with
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the president's jobs bill is not top on some gop agendas, but when we talk about reform in terms of washington and politics, this is the same argument we were talking about this during the break, that is -- it is bandied about over redistricting. when you are on top, you want control. when you are not, then you want reform. >> no, that's exactly right. >> at the end of the day maybe you do have to use the nuclear option to get anything done for the long game. >> this would be a very good thing to do, but i just have to take a step back because i'm of the opinion that really what this is about -- i mean, you know, mitch mcconnell, harry reid, very smart, have shrewd men. i feel like this is going to be more of a pawn used in the conversation about the fiscal cliff. >> really? >> i don't think it's actually going to be -- >> you have already had mcconnell saying depending on what happens, it's going to influence how i feel about the fiscal cliff. >> put it all in there. >> why not? >> i will say i don't actually look forward to 24-hour speeches. >> no, i don't. it's interesting that the crux of this seems to have come down to eliminating something that is
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quiet. okay? we're not talking sdret secretive. filibusters are public acts. do we just want to sort of amplify this and give people more opportunity to speak and get camera time? i mean -- >> it does raise the mrekt stakes for people to do that because they look like jack asses. not that they don't already. >> as you were saying, it's a largely secretive process. independent of the actual filibuster, you can put up roadblocks, and no one knows. you are not accountable. it's really about shame and transparency here, isn't it? >> yes. for example, on the disclose act, we were trying to get a 60th vote to end debate. the -- there was absolutely nobody speaking to the bill on the floor, speaking, if you will, in favor of killing the bill. the republicans wanted to block it. they wanted to block it in the dead of night. they didn't want to speak to it, and the rules don't require them to speak to it. if they had to take the floor, instead of just shifting the responsibility, the majority, to get 60 votes, they would have to take the floor and proceed to make the case in support of skresy in campaign donations.
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i think the public would have weighed in very quickly and said are you kidding me? that's outrageous. you have given speeches about transparency, being the sunlight that disinfects the political process. how can you possibly be blocking this bill? we would have gotten that 60th vote, and we would have had something very valuable. that happens on bill after bill. >> more outrage. more outrage directed towards the senate. no, i'm kidding. senator, jeb, we have to leave it there. we hope for reform. we hope we are seeing someone tap dancing or singing on the floor of the senate for an extended period of time in the near future. thank you, my friend. >> thank you, alex. after the break, republicans launch a fact-finding problem fixing panel to discover where it all went wrong, but is the party soul searching or house cleaning? we will take a look next on "now." 6 music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life.
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. well, republicans remain
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bereft following mitt romney's response at the polls. shouldn't the party be scared that the massachusetts plutocrat was its best option in a primary field? how does the gop fix what ails it? the rnc has assembled a five-member crack team to diagnose the party's problems and come up with solutions. mark, you moonlight as a brand energy. >> in an outfit consultant. >> sat oral consultant. i wonder what your assessment of this growth and opportunity task force that has been put together. it includes henry barber, sally bradshaw, ari fleisher, and -- now, i think buzz feed took it away with this nugget. poll truthers now in charge of figuring out what went wrong for republicans. poet truthers, of course -- >> i know. what do i think of that? i think -- >> yeah, what do you think of it? >> i think it's an important first step.
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[ laughing ] >> it's an rnc committee. a committee within the republican national committee that's not going to capture the imagination of the rank-and-file republicans or the swing voters that they need to win back or the constituencies like hispanics, but i do think, look, with republicans -- the bigger problem within the republican party, and this is true after a party has lost an election is that they don't have -- i mean, the face of the party is the party or the mom knee, when there is one, and, i mean, right now they have a candidate who just recently lost. i mean, they haven't had -- >> they have john boehner. >> if you look at this task force -- >> this also has no vision for the party. we did this in 2005, and part of the reason that howard dean was effective, by the way, he went out and talked to state party chairs, rank-and-file democrats, came up with a plan, the 50-state strategy. had something that people could rally around that wasn't just about building infrastructure, but we did polling and we understood that it wasn't the people that disagree with us on our issues, it was how we were talking. in the case of the republicans people actually disagree with them on their issues, and that's
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the one truth they don't want to face. >> look at this team, aa-team. the action hero figures to come out of this. >> haley barbour. >> henry is on the crack team. >> ari fleisher, great public persona. he had selling the iraq war for years, and, i mean, the question is recognizing reality, and, you know, in all this autopsy that they're doing, you only do autopsies on a dead body. you know, this keep talking about, you know, we have the right ideas. they're just not coming through. they have plenty of ideas in the last primary. mitt romney -- this was the most idealogical race we've had in about ten, 20 years. maybe since ronald reagan ran. they lost on all the idealogical issues. >> it's not that hard for these guys. again, this committee doesn't mean anything. the autopsy -- the autopsy is a couple things. one, i do think infrastructure matters, and republicans were weak there on the technology side. that's one.
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issues matter. they lost the battle of ideas in this one. the demographics matter. you can't lose 90% of african-americans, 50% of asians, 40% of hispanics and win a national election. that doesn't mean that republicans can't win a national election. they have to figure out a way to calibrate. it goes to your point at the beginning of the show. where do they win elections? spend issing a good issue for republicans. why do they win a record number of state legislative seats in 2010? why did they win back the house? because they focused on spending. not on silly issues. they focused on spenting. the american people -- we had a poll that came out monday. they want spending cuts as part of this deal. they don't like the size of government no matter what democrats want to think. >> they also -- they also have to back off -- >> they're much more open to cutting programs. >> they to figure out their social agenda too. they to figure out where they stand on women's health and immigration. everybody said that's a place they can own, and, yet, marco rubio increment proposition of incremental moves rather than --
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doesn't lend a lot of confidence to people looking for a renewed gop. >> i think this is an infrastructural panel. i think the much bigger step for the republican party -- i mean, last week jack kemp, the kemp foundation dinner, marco rubio and paul ryan gave back to back speeches. they were terrific speeches. i was there. i do think that ultimately the message of the party will be embodied in whatever figures come. >> they were speeches. they weren't actions. >> oh, my goodness. maybe we can get together after the show and brainstorm the solution. i think we can. we have to leave it there. jokes abounded between senators john mccain and john kerry on capitol hill last week. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. >> thank you very much, mr. president. this is what happens when you get two losers up here, folks.
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we're just having fun. >> now john mccain wants to join the senate foreign relations committee, which kerry chairs, and which may have to confirm a would-be secretary of state john kerry. we will look at the fine line between funny and totally awkward next in what now. [ male announcer ] playing in the nfl is tough.
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welcome back. time for "what now." never one to sit out a political fight senator john mccain is seeking a seat on the committee of the foreign relations committee, and it will run the confirmation hearings for the new secretary of state. with u.n. ambassador susan rice still considered president obama's first choice, mccain's new assignment could result in an intense showdown. that is an understatement. >> his new favorite role is taking on susan rice, and i think -- >> that's all he has been doing is taking on susan rice. >> he is on to this one. it's going to be a great test for the president. it's clear the president wants to nominate her. it's clear he has not made that decision final.
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if he does, there's going to be a heck of a fight. it's going to put republicans in a box. they're going to have to make some decisions. at least lindsey graham and john mccain seem to be of one mind on this. >> going back to john mccain, though, this is a case of senatorial stalking. he was -- he had to give up the chairmanship of the armed services committee. he was term limited out in terms of the republican roles, so he went looking for another place where he could kind of do the same thing. >> he has found a corner of his own, but i think what is ironic here, mark, is that the republicans have rallied around john kerry anti-war hero who they swift boated less than ten years ago as the new secretary of state. >> the voice of reason. no, it's amazing to see how this happens. he and john mccain are best friends again. he called him mr. president the other day. what did he call him, mr. secretary. >> mr. secretary and mr. president. >> anyway, yes. >> karen, does the president lose face if he backs down on susan rice? >> he does. so i think the president's
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condition is going to continue to be bring it on. i do. >> bring it on, she says. thank you to my friends here for bringing it on. that is all for now. i will see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern 9:00 a.m. pacific when i am joined bibi panel. be sure to catch me on the last word tonight at 10:00 p.m. when i do my best impersonation of lawrence o'donnell in the anchor's chair. fine us at facebook.com. andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. thanks to you, alex. coming up here, michigan governor rick snyder joins me from the state capitol as he prepares to sign laws curbing union clout in the state that's been home to the autoworkers since the beginning. we'll also be joined by the uaw president and by the reverend jesse jackson leading the protests there. senator kent conrad is here to update us on the fiscal cliff talks. syrian rebels are gaining what would be assad regime do? we'll hear from richard edgel on
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the border and david ignacious here, and an award winning documentary on the war on drugs, a war with unintended consequences. that next on andrea mitchell reports. could only come from nature. new nectresse. the 100% natural no-calorie sweetener made from the goodness of fruit. new nectresse. sweetness naturally. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks.
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home depot gift cards. give the gift of doing, in-store or online. protests at the michigan capital where the republican-led legislature is giving final approval to laws restricting the labor movement's power making michigan the nation's 24th right to work state. >> it's about being pro-worker. this is about giving the worker the freedom to choose whether their resources go to a union or not. president obama in detroit on monday accused the republicans of playing politics. >> you know, these so-called right to work laws, they don't have to do with economics. they have everything to do with mrekz. >> we're going live to lansing, michigan, with the governor, rick snyder. the uaw president and jesse jack.

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